Olympic athlete supports FebFast fundraiser

Press Release – FebFast

Olympian speed-skater Blake Skjellerup is supporting the New Zealand Drug Foundation’s premier fundraising event, FebFast. FebFast challenges people to give up alcohol for a month during February 2012, raising money via online sponsorship for charities …17 January 2012

Olympic athlete supports FebFast fundraiser

Olympian speed-skater Blake Skjellerup is supporting the New Zealand Drug Foundation’s premier fundraising event, FebFast.

FebFast challenges people to give up alcohol for a month during February 2012, raising money via online sponsorship for charities working with young people affected by drug or alcohol issues.

Blake Skjellerup is an ambassador for the event, which gets underway on the first of February. Details of how to register or support FebFast are available at www.febfast.org.nz.

“This is a really cool event to be involved with,” he says. “Everyone does too much partying over Christmas and New Year so February is a good time to take a break, and look at getting some fitness back. Giving up alcohol can help with that, and it’s also a chance to raise money for a worthwhile cause.”

26-year-old Blake Skjellerup competed for New Zealand at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and currently lives in Melbourne, where he’s in training for the next Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014. He holds a number of New Zealand and Australian titles and records, has received a number of sporting awards and scholarships, and prides himself on being one of only a handful of openly gay Olympic athletes.

Maintaining fitness for a peak performance is a top priority, he says.

“Going without alcohol definitely helps my performance and fitness. Alcohol does not give me the energy I need to perform and train through a hard session.

“It’s about having a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. I like to live by the everything-in-moderation motto. I like being able to have a fun night with friends without alcohol, and I enjoy being able to function the day after.”

He’s encouraging people to take part in FebFast or to support him through his fundraising page on the FebFast website (www.febfast.org.nz).

Nearly a thousand people took part in the first FebFast in February 2011, which raised more than $100,000 for four alcohol and drug service organisations.

The recipient organisations for FebFast 2012 are:

Evolve, a free Wellington service for young people aged 10 to 25 years. Evolve provides a wide range of general health, primary care and social services to assist youth. The funding it receives from FebFast will support a new programme for brief interventions with young people around alcohol and drug use. You can read more about Evolve at www.evolveyouth.org.nz.

The ADHD Association, which educates, supports and advocates for people affected by ADHD. FebFast funding will support the development of a substance abuse educational resource for young people with ADHD. Research shows that this group are more prone to substance abuse. The DVD/study guide produced from FebFast funding will be a first in New Zealand for ADHD, and will be relevant to the many social agencies involved with this group. You can read more about the ADHD Association at www.adhd.org.nz.

Rainbow Youth, Auckland. Queer and Transgender youth are more likely to drink often and heavily, more likely to drink alone, and more likely to have had family or friends tell them to reduce their drinking. Rainbow Youth wants to change the way alcohol and drug use is viewed, and will use its FebFast funding to raise awareness of the issues, for example through the use of blogs on the www.curious.org.nz and the www.rainbowyouth.org.nz sites.

CareNZ, Waikato. Every year CareNZ helps more than 2700 people overcome addiction issues. FebFast funding will support an ongoing project that follows up focus group results collected from 14 schools. This will involve raising awareness of alcohol issues, the availability of help, and the need to diminish the harm caused by youth drinking in schools. You can read more about CareNZ at www.carenz.org.nz.

FebFast Coordinator Catherine Milburn says the countdown is beginning to FebFast 2012.

“We’ve all made New Year resolutions about getting fitter and healthier, giving our bodies a bit of a detox, and putting something back into the community,” she says. “FebFast is a chance to kickstart those resolutions.”

To register for FebFast or to find out more visit www.febfast.org.nz

ENDS

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